Posted By: Dr. Angela Shi
Breast cancer is the predominant form of cancer in women and can occur in men in rare cases. According to the National Cancer Institute, the risk of getting breast cancer increases with age, with a woman over the age of 70 being 24 times less likely to develop breast cancer at some point.
To make sure you’re living the healthiest life and don’t have breast cancer, it’s best to schedule a mammogram every year. If you haven’t, please book early.
A single skipped mammogram can go from treatable and often curable early-stage breast cancer to burdensome and difficult-to-treat late-stage breast cancer. The incidence of breast cancer is higher than ever due to delays in screening tests during the pandemic. Please take this seriously.
If you’re over 75, you may have seen information that women in that age group don’t need to be tested, but if they’re fit and healthy, I will continue to get tested. It’s important to talk to your doctor, but that’s not the age to stop getting mammograms if you’re healthy.
Why did I hear that you don’t need a mammogram after age 75?
Some physicians consider age 75 as the cutoff age for mammography screening, given the patient’s life expectancy. When a patient turns 75, it is important that the health care team discuss what is appropriate for the given situation.
The American Cancer Society recommends annual mammography screening for older women with a life expectancy of 10 years or more.
According to JAMA Oncology, if the patient is a breast cancer survivor and is 75 years or older, the guidelines for mammography screening are:
- Consider discontinuing if expected to last less than 5 years.
- Consider stopping if you expect to live 5-10 years.
- Continue mammography if you expect to live more than 10 years.
It is important to understand that these guidelines are for mammography screening only and do not apply to women with breast cancer symptoms.
Why should I have a mammogram when I’ve been advised to stop screening?
Today’s cancers are more difficult to treat each year, so it’s important to get screened even if you’re over 75 and have 5 to 10 years or more to live.
It is also important to continue screening if you have had breast cancer before. If you have had breast cancer in the past, your risk of having it come back is increased.
What are the signs of breast cancer to look out for?
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, signs of breast cancer include a new, palpable lump in the breast or armpit, a thickened or swollen part of the breast, inflammation or dimples in the skin of the breast, redness or Includes flaky skin. Nipple area or chest pain, nipple retraction or nipple area pain, spontaneous nipple discharge, change in breast size or shape, or localized pain in any part of the breast.
If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor for an evaluation to determine your next steps.
How can I reduce my risk of breast cancer?
Older people can reduce their risk of breast cancer in three ways: keep exercising, cut down on alcohol consumption, and limit postmenopausal hormone therapy.
Staying physically active helps maintain a healthy weight, which is an important factor in preventing breast cancer. Most healthy adults get moderate exercise and strength training at least twice a week. You should aim to do at least two and a half hours of
The amount of alcohol you consume directly affects your risk of getting breast cancer. The more alcohol you drink, the higher your risk. Limit yourself to one serving per day, as even small amounts can increase your risk.
If you are taking postmenopausal hormone therapy, your risk of breast cancer may increase. Before considering taking postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of hormone therapy or find out other options for managing postmenopausal symptoms. If you decide to take post-hormone therapy, use the lowest dose to manage your postmenopausal symptoms and have your doctor monitor your hormone intake on an ongoing basis.
Annual screening mammograms are the only means proven to reduce mortality from breast cancer. It’s important for older women to be proactive about their health and advocate for themselves in the fight against breast cancer.
Be sure to talk to your doctor about your next mammogram screening.
Dr. Angela Sie is a board-certified radiologist and imaging director for the MemorialCare Breast Center at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center. Her areas of expertise include breast imaging and ultrasound, breast ultrasound, breast MRI, and all image-guided breast surgery. Sie has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed medical journals and in 2022 she was recognized as a Top Los Angeles Doctor by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
https://www.ocregister.com/2022/10/31/senior-living-the-benefits-of-mammograms-for-seniors/ Benefits of Mammograms for Older Adults – Orange County Register